Volume 2: Midwest United States
Michigan: MI-16

Catholic Church. Diocese of Grand Rapids. Archives
Cathedral Square Center
360 Division Avenue, SouthGrand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: 616-514-6060 and 616-246-0596
Email: See website (Staff Directory)


Hours: See website

Access: See website

Copying facilities: Yes


History: The Diocese of Grand Rapids was erected from territory in the Detroit Diocese for the northern and western portions of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, 1882. Grand Rapids and its predecessors have administered the following Native American (Ojibwa, Ottawa) missions, parishes, and school in Michigan.

1829-present (Grand Rapids, 1882-1971)

Holy Childhood of Jesus/ St. Peter Church, Harbor Springs

1829-1998 (closed) (Grand Rapids, 1882-1971)

Holy Childhood of Jesus/ St. Peter School, Harbor Springs  

1830-present (Grand Rapids, 1882-1971)

St. Mary Mission, Burt Lake/ Sheboygan Village

1832-1893 (closed) (Grand Rapids, 1882-1893

St. Leopold Mission, Beaver Island

1833-present Grand Rapids, 1882-1971

St. Ignatius/ St. Francis Xavier Mission, Middle Village/ Middletown

ca. 1840-present (Grand Rapids, 1882-1971)

Holy Cross/ St. Anthony Church, Cross Village

1853-present (Grand Rapids, 1882-1971)

Immaculate Conception/ St. Mary Mission, Peshabestown/ Eagletown

1859-1897 (closed), 1927-ca. 1937 (closed) (Grand Rapids, 1882-ca. 1937)

St. Francis Solano Mission, Petoskey

1861-1899 (closed) (Grand Rapids, 1882-1899)

St. Ignatius Mission, Beaver Island

1883-1973 (closed)

St. Joseph Mission, Hart/ Elbridge

1896-present (Grand Rapids, 1896-1971)

St. Francis Solanus Mission, Bay Shore

1897-1920 (closed)

Blessed Sacrament Mission, Elk Rapids

1897-1939 (closed)

St. Joseph Mission, High Island

1918-ca. 1920s (no longer Native)

St. Helen Mission, Fern

ca. 1918-1938 (closed)

Sacred Heart Mission, Garden Island


St. Kateri Tekakwitha Native American Center and St. Joseph Chapel, Hart/ Elbridge


Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: 1883-ongoing, undated

Volume: 1 cubic foot and 5 reels of microfilm

Description: 7 series include Native Catholic records. When the Gaylord Diocese was created, 1971, the Grand Rapids Diocese sent most of the parish and deed files to the new diocese. However, bishops' files, priests' files, financial and statistical reports, and photographs remained at Grand Rapids.


/1 Parish Files

Inclusive dates: 1883-1970s, undated

Volume: .35 cubic foot

Description: This series is divided into active and inactive parishes and is arranged alphabetically by location of the parish and chronologically there under.

A. Active Parishes, 1885-1947, 3 folders:

1. Elbridge, St. Joseph, 1885-1947, 2 folders:

a. Correspondence, 1919-1934, 1947, 22 letters

b. Financial records, 1885-1927, 1 folder

2. Fern, St. Helen Mission, 1929-1931, 8 letters

B. Inactive parishes, 1883-1970s, undated, .3 cubic foot: When the Diocese was divided, the parish files of those Indian missions located in the Diocese of Gaylord were sent to the new diocese. However, some historical records on each parish remained in the Grand Rapids Diocesan Archives. Records are arranged alphabetically by the location of the parish.

1. Bay Shore, St. Francis Solanus Mission, 1894-1927, 2 folders:

a. Statistical reports, 1894-1909, 1912, 1915, 1923, 1925

b. Financial reports, 1894-1927

2. Beaver Island, Holy Cross Mission, 1884-1970, 3 folders:

a. Correspondence, 1884-1970, 5 letters

b. Statistical and financial reports, 1884-1927

3. Cross Village, Holy Cross Mission, 1883-1970s, 4 folders:

a. Correspondence 1883-1889, 35 letters: correspondents include Rev. John Weikamp, T.O.R., and Bishop Henry J. Richter

b. Diary (typed copy) of Rev. John Weikamp, T.O.R., 1883-1889

c. Statistical reports, 1883-1885, 1903-1913

d. Financial reports, 1883-1927

e. Photographs, 1970s, 10 photos

4. Harbor Springs, Holy Childhood Mission, 1884-1971, undated 3 folders:

a. Correspondence, 1892-1971, 12 letters

b. Historical notes of Reverend Eugene Hagedorn, O.F.M., 1930s, undated

c. Statistical and financial reports, 1884-1927

5. Peshawbestown, Immaculate Conception Mission, 1884-1890, undated, 1 folder:

a. Statistical reports, 1884-1890

b. Photographs, undated, 2 photos

6. Petoskey, St. Francis Xavier Church, 1883-1970, undated, .1 cubic foot:

a. Correspondence, 1928-1970, 80 letters: major correspondents include Rev. Aubert Keuter, O.F.M., and Bishop Joseph G. Pinten

b. Statistical reports, 1883-1925

c. Financial reports, 1883-1927

d. Photographs, undated, 5 photos

e. Clippings, undated


/2 Bishops' Papers

Inclusive dates: 1883-1897

Volume: .1 cubic foot

Description: This series contains Bishop Henry Richter’s letterpress books of outgoing correspondence, which include numerous letters to missionaries among Native Americans, including Rev. Servatius Altmicks, O.F.M.


/3 Financial and Statistical Records

Inclusive dates: 1883-1917, 1928-1949, 1970-ongoing

Volume: .4 cubic foot


A. Financial and statistical reports, 1928-1949, 1970-ongoing, .2 cubic foot: annual reports from each Indian mission; reports from 1883-1927 are in the parish files; reports for the years 1950-1969 were lost or destroyed

B. Mission and School statistics, 1900-1917, 1 volume: Lists the number of priests, churched, families, teachers, and students and sacraments administered at diocesan churches and schools

C. School statistics, 1883-1900, 1 volume: provides statistics on the number of teachers, enrollment, attendance and the financial; status of diocesan schools

D. Sacramental statistics and financial data, 1883-1900, 1 volume: arranged alphabetically by parish or mission


/4 Sacramental Records

Inclusive dates: 1883-1973

Volume: 5 reels of microfilm

Description: Sacramental records (e.g. baptisms, marriages, burials) on microfilm:

A. Elbridge, St. Joseph Mission, 1895-1918, 1936-1973, 1 reel

B. Fern, St. Helen Mission, 1895-1914, 1 reel

C. Fremont, St. Michael Church, 1933-1936, 1 reel: records for St. Joseph Mission, Elbridge

D. Montague, St. James Church, 1883, 1891-1895, 1920-1923, 1 reel; records for St. Joseph Mission, Elbridge

E. Muskegon, St. Michael Church, 1923-1933, 1 reel: records for St. Joseph Mission, Elbridge


/5 “General Correspondence Files”

Inclusive dates: 1892, 1928-1937, 1970-1971

Volume: 1 folder

Description: This series consists of alphabetically arranged subject files, which include a folder labeled “Indians and Negroes” that contains correspondence between the Diocese and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians


/6 Native American Ministry

Inclusive dates: Unknown

Volume: Unknown

Description: A current diocesan office whose records have not yet been archived.


/7 Diocesan Newspaper and Magazine

Inclusive dates: 1948-ongoing

Volume: .1 cubic foot

Description: The magazine, Faith, succeeded the newspaper, The Western Michigan Catholic, in 2007. Both have been monthly publications with occasional articles on or references to Native Americans and Catholic evangelization with ties to the diocese. Faith has been archived online and key-word searchable since September 2011.


Unless otherwise noted, the repository on this page holds (or held) the records described here and they are not held at the Marquette University Archives.